Why an Athlete Might Now See a Sports Neurologist

Sports neurology
Print icon

What is a sports neurologist? With the dramatic increase in head injuries in football and other sports, this relatively new subspecialty of neurology has become increasingly prominent.

Dr. Stephanie Alessi-Larosa is a sports neurologist with the Hartford Healthcare Ayer Neuroscience Institute:

Q. Sports neurology is a somewhat new field. Why is this so important for athletes?
A. Sports neurologists are trained in the diagnosis and management of neurologic conditions in athletes, such as concussions. I am a board-certified neurologist that treats all neurologic conditions, but I have completed a fellowship to obtain a subspecialty in managing neurologic conditions that arise in athletes either from their participation in sports (such as concussions) or, for example, migraines or epilepsy that occur in the general population that requires specialized management by a sports neurologist for athletes with these conditions to perform highly.

Q. You are fellowship trained as a sports neurologist and will being treating athletes. When should someone see you?
A. Being fellowship trained, I have spent time at countless live competitions with athletes from the youth level through collegiate and professional monitoring for acute concussions or other acute neurologic issues.

The sooner the athlete or anyone with a concussion is seen by a physician, the better the outcome. Any patient of any age and any level of athleticism/physical activity should come see me if they have or may have a neurologic diagnosis (such as migraine, epilepsy, muscular disease) or have had a concussion or are suffering from prolonged symptoms such as from post-concussion syndrome.

Q. What are some of the other conditions you treat as a sports neurologist?
A.
Some of the most common conditions I see include: post-concussion syndrome,  migraines and all headache types, neck strain, vestibular/equilibrium issues and cognitive issues. I also frequently evaluate patients who have neurologic concerns after suffering repetitive head injuries in sports.

Q. Can you explain what baseline testing is and why it is important for athletes?
A. Baseline testing is a way to evaluate athletes prior to having a concussion or after fully recovering from a concussion where the testing can be repeated if an acute concussion is suspected and also to assist the clinician to determine when it is safe for them to return to play. Baseline testing comes in many shapes and sizes, but at its best it is performed and interpreted by a sports neurologist rather than a standardized computer program and includes a combination of cognitive, balance, eye movement assessments, just to name a few areas.

Dr. Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa will give a community education talk July 18 at 6 p.m. at Waterford High School, where you can learn more about the facts vs. myths about concussion and how to approach the long-term issues from head injuries in sports. For information,  contact Waterford High football coach John Strecker john-strecker@sbcglobal.net.

To learn more about sports neurology at Hartford HealthCare, call 1-855-HHC-HERE (1.855.442.4373). 

 


What's New

After Cancer Treatment

How Physical Rehab Can Help Recovery From Lung Cancer      

By Ruth H. Satterberg Occupational Therapist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist Hospital of Central CT Cancer Institute A lung cancer diagnosis can be extremely challenging. Lung cancer, different from breast cancer, often has more complications and challenges to overcome. Evidence shows that physical and occupational therapy can be very helpful at all stages...

Senior man giving wife a kiss

The Long-Term Effects of Cancer Therapy on Your Body

Treatment of lung cancer has developed rapidly in the past 10 years. With earlier detection and improved therapies, patient outcomes have improved significantly. The therapies used for treatment of lung cancer — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — certainly cause many acute side effects.  But this article will focus on the...

Heat wave and exercise

Having a Heatwave? When Exercising, Know Your Body’s Limits

Brace yourself for a weekend heatwave with temperatures in some Connecticut towns reaching 100 degrees. More ominously, heat-index values that combine temperature and dew point are expected to reach as high as 115. That probably won’t stop the diehard exercisers among us, but experts advise caution during such extreme weather....

Hoarding Study

Institute of Living Study: What Motivates a Hoarder?

To understand hoarding and cultivate a healthy mindset beyond the large-scale purging of piles and boxes of belongings, behavioral health clinicians must first understand what motivates the hoarder. Researchers with the Hartford HealthCare Institute of Living in Hartford will probe that motivation more closely as part of the new study “Emotional...

Insulin Pump and Exercise

Exercise and an Insulin Pump: Here’s How to Do It

How can you exercise with an insulin pump? Healthwise content is included in this report. Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network, a not-for-profit member of Hartford HealthCare, offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, sports medicine and health & wellness programs.  Please call 860.696.2500 or click here for more information.